This article was written for Northern Eye Books by Laura Hodgkinson. Copyright © Laura Hodgkinson 2020. All rights reserved.
Only the most hardy amongst us will walk the whole 870-mile Wales Coast Path in one go, but what makes this long-distance path truly special is that you can choose to walk short sections of it at your leisure, ranging from gentle strolls to full-day walks.
What to pack – essential and optional items
If you’re new to walking or are just after a little more information to prepare for a walk on the Wales Coast Path, here is a useful list split into essential and optional items to take with you.
- Rucksack. Between 15-25 litres in volume will be big enough for a half-day or circular walk – Just make sure it’s comfortable to carry when packed full.
- Boots or walking shoes. You’ll need sturdy footwear that can cope with steep or rough paths as well as being on your feet for several hours.
- Walking socks. A good pair of socks will help prevent any discomfort or blisters. Consider a pair of liner socks underneath your walking socks if your footwear is particularly sturdy, if you’re walking a longer route, or if your footwear is new and needs breaking in.
- Water. Always take at least a litre bottle of water, especially on hot days. There may be places to stop for refreshments but this depends on your route.
- Food & snacks. Unless you’ve done your research and planned ahead to stop at a pub or café, you’ll need to take enough food for your walk. Snacks like fruit, nuts or jelly babies can make for the perfect energy boost.
- Waterproof jacket. Even on the sunniest of days the weather can turn – you’ll be in Wales, after all! Plus, it can double-up as a wind-proof outer layer.
- Map and compass. Knowing how to use them will help ensure you stay on-route. The Wales Coast Path is sign posted, but your particular route may not be. Alternatively, a guidebook containing your chosen route will be a big help.
- Mobile phone. As well as for taking stunning photos along the way, a mobile phone will be useful for if you have to call emergency services. (Dial 999 in an emergency and ask for the Coastguard.)
- Waterproof rucksack cover or dry bag. They take up very little space and will keep your bag and contents dry if it rains.
- Spare layer. A light but warm extra layer such as a fleece or synthetic jacket will keep you warm if the wind gets up or if the temperature cools.
- First aid kit. Basic items like plasters, ibuprofen, antiseptic wipes, and any personal medication such as inhalers.
- Something to take your rubbish home. Or even better, why not re-use your lunch box / sandwich packaging / food bag as a rubbish bag and stash it in your rucksack.
- Guidebook. Some may argue this as an essential, especially in the planning stage – a guidebook containing your planned route is a great asset.
- Waterproof trousers. If there’s a risk of rain and you don’t fancy getting your trousers wet, these will come in useful.
- Hat and gloves. Not essential in hot weather but certainly recommended.
- Sunglasses. A personal choice, but if you’re a sunglasses wearer you will want to pack yours if you’re not already wearing them.
- Sun lotion. Arguably an essential but entirely weather dependent!
- Tissues. One of those easy to forget yet ever-useful items that you’ll wish you’d packed.
If you’re in need of some inspiration or help with route planning, I recommend Northern Eye Books’ range of pocket-sized Top 10 Walks guidebooks covering areas of the Wales Coast Path. View the full range of Top 10 Walks books here.
These fantastic little books each contain ten scenic, circular walks with clear route descriptions, easy to follow Ordnance Survey mapping, professional photography, and helpful information on anything and everything from parking to pubs! Themed walking books have also recently been added to the collection, including Pub Walks and Tea Shop Walks.
Now you’ve got everything you need to plan a walk along the Wales Coast Path, you can get out there and enjoy everything the coastline has to offer; quaint pubs, local wildlife, idyllic sandy beaches, historical sights, and beautiful views around every corner.